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Losing two Hall of Famers in the same week is just depressing.

The Chicago Cubs signed Lou Brock out of Southern University in 1960 and in his first pro season Brock tore the Northern League apart, batting .361 with 38 stolen bases. So the Cubs made him their Opening Day centre fielder the following April. The 1961 Northern League was roughly equivalent to A ball today, so the Cubs were expecting quite the leap from a 23 year old in just his second pro season. When Lou batted just .263  the Cubs were utterly dismayed. They also couldn't fathom how a player so fast could be such a bad outfielder. So, despite the fact that Lou's arm was always well below average, they tried him in right field in 1963. The Cubs. What can I say, except once more, they were disappointed. 

So they just gave up and traded him to St. Louis in June 1964, in what history now records as one of the worst trades ever made. The Cardinals weren't too worried about Brock's outfield play - they had the great Curt Flood patrolling centre field. They stuck Brock in left field and told him to just go out and hit. And run. Which he did, and he didn't stop until he'd hit and run his way into the Hall of Fame. By the time he was done, he'd set the single season and career records for stolen bases, cleared 3,000 hits, and helped his team to three pennants and two championships. He was the great World Series performer of the 1960s and one of the greatest of all time - in his 21 WS games, he hit .391/.424/.655, stole 14 bases, and scored 16 runs.
Lou Brock (1939-2020) | 9 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Magpie - Sunday, September 06 2020 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#390049) #
This is mostly recycled from the Cardinals Lobby of Numbers entry. Damned if I want to sit down and write obituaries, but notice needs to be taken.
mathesond - Sunday, September 06 2020 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#390053) #
A couple things I picked up from BBTF - Seaver faced Brock more than any other hitter, and Brock faced Seaver more than any other pitcher. And, Brock was 35 when he stole 118 bases in a season.
BlueMonday - Sunday, September 06 2020 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#390054) #
Thanks Magpie.
The first MLB game I attended was left field at Jarry Park in 1969. They were playing the Cardinals, with Lou Brock playing left field. As a kid, I didn't see his defensive shortcomings, he was a star who became a Hall of Famer.
Left field was called 'Jonesville' that first year for the Expos left fielder Mack Jones. I wanted to call the bleachers 'Brock-ville'.
Mike Green - Sunday, September 06 2020 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#390055) #
Another one.  Damn.  Lou Brock was the definitive leadoff hitter of his time, and a great World Series performer.  He was very durable, hardly missing any time until after he was 35 and hitting .300 at age 40. I'd venture a guess that a player who is still productive at age 40 is a very good bet to make the three score and twenty.
christaylor - Monday, September 07 2020 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#390072) #
Lovely piece in The Athletic on Brock. The Great Saint Buck and Angelogoy figure into Brock's story. I have no comment or opinion on the existence of angels, but I am fairly confident that sometimes our attention is caught by something in the environment we need to see and others will miss. That something can terrify or inspire. The best stories are ones where we notice the details that inspire.
Nigel - Tuesday, September 08 2020 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#390121) #
Funnily enough it was a fantastic defensive play by Brock that was largely responsible for the start of my lifelong curiosity about baseball (the love of the sport probably came later). It was '73 and my father and I were in Canada (literally) just off the boat from the UK. My father, an avid cricket fan, was trying to understand baseball so we were watching every Game of the Week broadcast possible. Anyway, I remember Brock made a fantastic leaping catch against the fence in Dodger Stadium (I think). The Dodgers had a runner on first who thought it was going to be a hit. Brock took a moment to throw the ball back in because he had hit the wall hard and then ... chaos ensued because the runner, in retreating to first had passed second and then forgotten to step on second on the way back to first. All leading to an inning ending double play. The next inning the first words from the broadcaster's mouth (probably Vin Scully) after the commercial were "as is always the case, the player who makes a spectacular defensive play, leads off the next inning". As an alien to all that is unique about baseball, it took me months to work out what had happened on the basepaths and to understand the baseball lore associated with the broadcaster's statement. Sail on Lou.
Mike Green - Wednesday, September 09 2020 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#390154) #
Today's paper edition of the Globe had a obit on Brock with two interesting tidbits for me.

When he was about 9, Brock was living in Louisiana with his family when he heard Harry Caray broadcast a Cardinals-Dodgers game on radio station KMOX.  He didn't play baseball as a young child but hearing of Jackie Robinson's exploits inspired him- he saw baseball as a way out of Jim Crow.  How fitting that he should end up a Cardinal.  KMOX had tremendous reach-I remember being able to pick it up from east of Toronto as a young teenager if weather conditions were right.  The radio station played an important role in building the Cardinals.

I did not know that Brock went to university on an academic scholarship. Late in 1964 began studying pitchers by taking film of their deliveries and timing his jump.  Branch Rickey would have approved...but might have worked on a drill or two to help him with plate discipline.  Brock arrived too late for Branch Rickey and too early for Whitey Herzog. 
Magpie - Wednesday, September 09 2020 @ 06:09 PM EDT (#390196) #
might have worked on a drill or two to help him with plate discipline.

Maybe he did. It did improve as his career went along. But Lou was always a free swinger who struck out a lot, and was regularly among the league leaders in Ks. More career strikeouts than Mickey Mantle, among others.
Mike Green - Wednesday, September 09 2020 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#390198) #
It's true.  His best two years in the plate discipline department were at age 32 and 35.  There aren't too many players who strike out less (per PA) from age 31-35 than from age 26-30, but Brock was one. 
Lou Brock (1939-2020) | 9 comments | Create New Account
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